Clause 8 - Offence of illegal working

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 27th October 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 3:45 pm, 27th October 2015

We have had a wide-ranging debate on clause 8 and the amendment tabled by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras. It is important to take a step back. In all the contributions to date, the focus has been on the victims of trafficking and the effects of it; I will come on to those issues in more detail. There has not been much focus on the impact of illegal working on the rest of the population. For example, an illegal worker in effect takes a job from someone who is here legally—people born in this country, or those who have gone through all the right routes to come to this country.

The hon. Member for Glasgow North East made an impassioned contribution about an individual case. I am not familiar with it, obviously, and have to take at face value everything she told me. However, the measure we are debating has equal implications for someone in her constituency who is unemployed and cannot get a job. It is part of a broader strategy that links back to discussions on part 1 of the Bill on labour market enforcement and the role of the director, of enforcement and of doing more and better. There are also the offences that we are coming on to and the separate role of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and how we can better direct its activity to go after those who are acting inappropriately and contributing to the problem. We need to see things in that broader context of the impact of illegal working on legitimate businesses and those who play by the rules, on wage levels and on the availability of work for British citizens and other lawful residents. It is important to underline that broader context when discussing the intent behind a number of provisions in the Bill, which need to be looked at as a whole, rather than always in isolation.